the pros and cons of writer’s block

I don’t have writer’s block.

Because that’s when you can’t write.

Where your mind is a crevasse, a pit, a canyon–

Deep and vast and empty.

Vultures flying overhead,

scouring for bits of creative roadkill

left among the dust and heat.

Circling, swooping, diving

On a mindless, endless loop

Of absolutely nothing to say.

 

I don’t have writer’s block.

Because my mind is not a canyon.

But a chalkboard in a first-grade classroom

Filled corner to corner, top to bottom

with only two letters.

Or a typewriter with just two keys–

Two options, two choices.

I hunt and peck just like the vultures,

but there are only two letters for me to find.

Of the 21 consonants and 5 vowels in the English language–

the language I learned to speak by mimicking my mother as an infant,

the language I learned to write poetry in by copying my mother as a young girl–

Of all the letters she taught me,

Only two are within my reach.

Two alphabet neighbors,

Making one precious word:

M-O-M.

I’m an artist with only two colors.

I’m a musician with only two notes.

I’m a daughter with only one parent.

Because M-O-M is gone.

 

No, I don’t have writer’s block.

Because I cannot block out grief.

And I cannot block out angst.

Or flashbacks.

Or nightmares.

Or the swelling of my stomach when I miss her more

than having 24 more letters to work with–

Than having something else to say.

 

I don’t have writer’s block.

Because I can write.

I can write anger.

I can write devastation.

I can write longing.

I can write memory.

I can write her.

I just can’t seem to write anything else.

 

I don’t have writer’s block.

But there are some days

I wish that I did.

 

8 thoughts on “the pros and cons of writer’s block

  1. Genna, this is so devastating, yet so beautiful. You tackle one of my greatest fears with such tenderness and art. I’m so sorry. We just lost my mother’s brother and so this is all very familiar to me in some ways. My sympathies.

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    1. Thank you so much. Writing helps, but at times I feel stuck–like grief is all that’s left in me to write about. I’m sorry for your recent loss. And I know you would write it beautifully as well. :)

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